I see the light. But what is it? – brief notes

November 13, 2007

I thought this painting would be a good start as far as “getting” my artwork “out there”  

It is an acrylic painting with certain semi-recognisable elements, however, a focal point that is totally non-representational. This begs the question being asked in the title of the work. I see the light. But what is it?

What is the essence of God?

In a Christian context it is light. In a Buddhist context there is no concept of god  but Shunyata, “Emptiness”or “Voidness”. The sky is seen as a metaphor for the Shunyata

Is it possible to understand the nature of God? If God is only light are we to be curators of light or are we light?

How can we fathom emptiness? Are we – and if not, how are we to be – enlightened?


10 Responses to “I see the light. But what is it? – brief notes”

  1. timvictor Says:

    There are theistic expressions of Buddhism but early Buddhism certainly leans away from theism.

    The reason for this lies not so much in an absolute denial of any kind of deity but rather in Buddha himself discover that there is no “Self” or “God” within in or others and in the absence of finding/experience Godself what do we do and hence the eightfold path.

    JS Kruger – the UNISA prof – has written an impressive book called Metatheism which is about synthesising Christianity and Buddhism and is a worthwile reading. He further explores some of this when dealing with “conditionalism” but is over-technical in his writing here.

    Maso Abe, the Buddhist evangelist to Christians, sees a link between Christ emptying himself and what he translates as “dynamic self-emptiness” or Shunyata.

    I’d be keen to hear more of your thoughts on this?

  2. Tim,
    Possibly my approach is to simplified or I’m back-tracking to far.

    I have studied Buddhist teachings and a part of a process/search for truth. I understand the classic perspectives regarding the points of departure for Christianity and Buddhism.

    I want to discover God.

    But this time I’m scared of getting it wrong and my faith is non-existant.

    So maybe, I’m empty and God is Light. But I’m not ready for this yet.

  3. liquidlight Says:

    Andy & Tim.

    i sense a wonderful stream of conversation developing on this point and look forward to Nic and all comers getting involved.

    i read some of Jung’s autobiography this morning and he made the important observation that whatever we perceive & experience – inwardly or outwardly – is experienced in and through the psych/soul.

    people sometimes feel threatened or disturbed when Jung talks about the “God archetype”, perceiving him as saying that G-d is no more than an object or pattern of the psyche – thus reducing G-d significantly. I sense that what he was actually saying was that however we experience or understand G-d, we do so through the psyche.

    for my entire time in the church, i looked for G-d “out there”. i now believe that i must take the journey inwards in order to find the light of the Divine. i’m with the gnostics on that score.

    the cornerstone which the charismatic evangelicals seek lies within, not without.

  4. Nic Paton Says:

    Don’t backtrack. You are already on the road / in the water. Where Love is concerned, There is nothing to be afraid of.

    The primary question is, am I where there is love? Am I moving towards community and personal transformation?

    Whatever fears you might harbour, (and we all do), will be uncovered in this light – the light of love.

    Don’t apologise or see yourself as out of your depth. Your unknowing, doubt and darkness is part of G-d, part of community, and it is honoured, for as long as you need it to be.

    Keep painting, keep revealing. Enjoy the blank canvas, the fresh start.

  5. Nic Paton Says:

    Might I just say, the comments section here looks like a totem pole of note. A few dark, scowly lords, a see through head, and some perverted USB plug – my my.

  6. Hi Nic,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    An artist can choose either to hide behind his/her work or use it as a tool to expose the soul.

    Through the basics of light,dark,colour and composition an artist can express the full spectrum of emotions from love to hatred, humour to sombre.

    I hope that my simple works will help me and the community discover secrets that are difficult express.

    Thanks again

  7. liquidlight Says:


    he he, what a totem pole! dark scowly lords eh? i intend to spend more time lurking in the shadows.


  8. movingincircles Says:

    So you’ll be “in the shadows”? The question is – Will you be seen? Remember that even the smallest flicker of light will penetrate the darkness.

  9. timvictor Says:


    Potentially the USB is an abused pitch fork…

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